President Biden Confronts Climate Extremes with Increased Funding for Resilience

FEMA Program Vital to Helping Communities Address Growing Impacts of Extreme Weather

May 24, 2021
Jacques Hebert

(Washington, DC – May 24, 2021) President Biden announced today an increase in funding to FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program to better confront the threats posed by extreme weather across the country. 

The following is a statement from Eric Schwaab, Senior Vice President, Ecosystems and Oceans and a former administrator of the National Marine Fisheries Service at NOAA under the Obama administration:

“President Biden today took bold climate action to help communities better meet the risks posed by disasters and build long-term resilience. Pre-disaster investments save money and lives. FEMA’s BRIC program has already made significant progress, but the demand for this funding far exceeds what the agency has allocated to date. 

“Our country is increasingly being ravaged by extreme weather, threatening the safety of communities, the health of entire ecosystems and the strength of our economy. With stronger hurricanes and sea level rise on our coasts, inland flooding from excessive rainfall across the country, and droughts and wildfires throughout the West, no place in America is untouched by climate change impacts.     

“Extreme weather does not affect all communities equally, so President Biden is right to dedicate significant funding specifically to traditionally underserved communities disproportionately impacted by climate disasters. We also encourage President Biden to work with Congress to prioritize natural infrastructure to increase flood resilience and provide communities with additional ecosystem and social benefits, such as improved water quality, wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities. 

“We need to act now, before the next disaster, to reduce risks and invest in solutions like natural infrastructure and climate adaptation measures to build resilience for all communities.” 

Background: Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) is a federally administered program through FEMA that directs funding to states, tribes, local communities and territories to implement pre-disaster mitigation projects. Biden also announced that he would dedicate 40% of BRIC funding to traditionally-underserved areas that often experience the brunt of climate change and extreme weather. The announcement comes ahead of what forecasters are predicting to be an above-average Atlantic hurricane season and following last year’s most active hurricane season ever recorded. FEMA launched the BRIC program in 2020, originally allocating $500 million in grants after receiving $3.6 billion in applications.

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